A Crucial Ingredient in Early Life May Have Gushed Out of Deep-Sea Vents

03/01/2021
Media credits: Pacific Ring of Fire 2004 Expedition. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration; Dr. Bob Embley, NOAA PMEL, Chief Scientist.
Media credits: Pacific Ring of Fire 2004 Expedition. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration; Dr. Bob Embley, NOAA PMEL, Chief Scientist.

(Inside Science) -- Phosphorus, the 15th element, courses through the tree of life. It is a building block in DNA, RNA, cell membranes and bones. But because it is so scarce on the Earth's surface, scientists have long puzzled over why phosphorus is so common in biology. Now, a team of researchers believes the truth may be that it wasn't all that uncommon, because at the time life was beginning phosphorus-rich fluids may have spewed from deep-sea vents...(read more)